Similar to making traditional (salt brined and fermented) pickles, you can salt brine and ferment almost any vegetable. If you have any radishes left in your fall garden, I highly recommend fermented radish pickles.
Radishes are one of the first veggies to grow and ready for harvest in the spring; then they are done. Spring radishes say “eat me, we are fresh, we are new, we are spring”! Spring radishes all get eaten fresh in salads, or dipped in homemade buttermilk ranch. But fall radishes are different. If you plant radishes in the fall, they will be among the last to be harvested. In the fall the radishes say “Save us, preserve us, make us last. We are the last; winter is here”. Hence, fermented fall radishes. They will live in my jars, in my refrigerator, in my memories of spring, summer, and fall, until the jars are empty. Does this make any sense to you? Or am a crazy? Wait, I don’t want to know the answer.
Sooo….here we go.
Sadly and carefully harvest the last of your fall radishes. Wash them gently to remove excess dirt. Slice into thin…but not too thin slices. I like mine about an 1/8th inch think.
Place your radish slices in to a Fido jar, Mason jar, or what ever you prefer to use for small batch fermentation.
Meanwhile, prepare your brine. For radishes I use a 5% sea salt brine by mixing 1.5 Tbsp sea salt with 2 cups water. Feel free to double the recipe based on how much brine you need. You can heat the water to help the salt dissolve, but don’t pour hot water over the radish slices. Make sure your radish slices stay submerged under the brine. One of the simplest ways to make sure they stay submerged is to fill a ziplock with water, seal it and place it on top of the radishes (in the brine) before closing the lid.
If you are using a Fido jar or Mason jar, you will need burp your jar once or twice a day (depending on how active the fermentation is) to release excess gasses and pressure. For a Fido, you can burp the jar just by pulling on the little rubber tab on the seal.
Set your fermentation jar in a dark place (out of direct sunlight), and let it do its thing (with minor burping interventions). I let mine ferment for about 10 days. The length of your fermentation depends on the temperatures in your house (colder = longer) and your own personal preference. Over time the radishes will transform from tasting salty to tasting pickled. It can be a good idea to taste every few days to figure out when they are to your liking. Fermented radishes have a tangy/cabbage-like flavor. Much of the radish bite disappears.
If you are fermenting red radishes your brine will become an amazing pink color before they are done.
Refrigeration halts/slows the fermentation process. These radishes will last weeks to months in the fridge.
How to use fermented radishes? Anyway you want. I love them in salads and on sandwiches. They are amazing diced up in egg salad or tuna salad.
Ingredients and Special Equipment
Radishes – as many as you want.
Sea salt (add 1.5 Tbsp per 2 cups water)
A jar large enough to accommodate your radishes, brine, and a weight.